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- College of Law Home
Message from the Dean
“Student Engagement: The Ultimate Goal”
As you know, engagement was the main theme of this past academic year: engagement of NIU Law with the University, community, and alumni. And this engagement is focused to achieve the most important goal -- student-centeredness -- which is a priority of the University’s Vision 2020 plan as well as at the College of Law. The ultimate goal is to be engaged for students: to enhance their experiences, their preparedness, and their marketability.
The first essential way that we engage students is by mentoring them thoughtfully and with care from orientation to graduation. Our 1L mentoring program, now in its successful third year, allows students to learn about practice first-hand and learn essential skills such as networking and resume writing. Our faculty members are also generous and effective mentors, preparing our students in so many ways, such as overseeing student projects; supervising research assistants; advising moot court, trial advocacy, and client counseling teams; and working through vexing professionalism issues. The measure of their success is the high praise that our faculty receive from alumni, everywhere I go.
A second essential way that we engage students is by providing them with experiences that prepare their hearts and minds for the ever-changing world of practice. NIU Law has always known that meaningful skill development and ethical training begin in law school. We also ensure our students have valuable hands-on experiences available to them in a variety of contexts – our clinical and externship opportunities have almost doubled in the last five years, and have expanded to include experiences in business, in politics, and in representing populations with great need for access to justice, including exonerees and migrant farm workers.
A third way that we engage students is to offer programs that enhance the depth of their experiences and opportunities. This year we are offering for the first time four certificate programs, in criminal practice, civil advocacy, international law, and business law. We are currently working with other Colleges on joint initiatives, including accelerated degree programs.
Thanks to all of you who touch our students’ lives, in the myriad ways that you do.
All the best,